Tinker Verve

creating with spirit & enthusiasm…often with great results

The land gives so freely!

What’s on your {late} summer reading list?

I have my favorite little spot to sit in the living room and I have a stack of wonderful books and magazines piled up all around me.  Any chance I have to sit down, I grab one and start looking for the next fun thing that I want to make, can, dehydrate, freeze…

My interests seem to evolve and change but they also seem to keep moving in the same direction.

Living off the Land!

I can’t get enough…it makes me get all excited!

Yesterday I ordered #3 & #5 crocks for sauerkraut, pickles, etc…

the laundry and housework has been very patient…so has Mr. T!

Look what I drug home over the weekend {along with a whole lot of other things}.  Oh, I’m so excited…it’s just so beautiful!

really, I promise…it is! 

A number was randomly chosen and we have a winner for my birthday give-a-way….Rosie!

Rosie is a local gal so I can’t wait to have this grand excuse to get together for coffee, tea, food…good conversation!  🙂

Oh, the comments that were left on this post…all of them made me smile…most of them made me cry just a little!  Thanks for sharing from your hearts, ladies!

August 31, 2011 Posted by | garden, healthy living, home life, in the kitchen, sustainable living | 4 Comments

Summer Grandeur…

“All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.”
— L.M. Montgomery

This has been a favorite summer for me!

I’m going to guess that it has much to do with that ‘gentle’ process of aging that none of us can avoid.

I believe that I have learned to enjoy the simple joys and pleasures in life more than ever.  And, because we were able to move to this beautiful country setting 3½ years ago, it has allowed for a more restful, less hectic life {which I fully embrace}.

I’ve made a quiet resolve with myself to keep it that way!   […so far, so good]

Another one of life’s simple pleasures that I cannot ignore is the power within a seed.

It amazes me each and every year.

And, it causes me to be impressed with myself {that’s always fun}.

Most of my garden is the result of seeds that I put in dirt…with my own little hands.

Many of my herbs I purchased but most everything else came up from seed: corn, green beans, peas, carrots, kale, lettuce, spinach, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, flowers.  Plus, we have a nice variety of things that come back each year: raspberries, strawberries, asparagus, horseradish and a small orchard with apples, plums, pear…

With fresh local lamb and beef filling our freezers plus the abundance of fish that we caught in Alaskan waters…oh, ya…and that fresh goat’s milk…we have been eating so well {too well}.  Everything is fresh and yummy…not to mention, oh, so healthy!

All of this makes summer so busy and so wonderful in a very worthwhile and fulfilling sort of way.

I have a few sunflowers that are nearly twice my height…

Do you remember the chickens {Silkies} I had in my booth at the Farm Chicks sale? 

Because the little one {the black one} was so little I didn’t want to put them in with the other chickens so I just let them have free-range of my garden.  I wasn’t sure how that would work.  I told them that if they got into my strawberries then they would have to leave.   They have done great.  They just kind of hang out in the potato patch.  I brought home a rooster for them recently and they literally are all inseparable.

Poppy, Nel and Papa Jack

I still haven’t forgotten that there is a give-a-way…go over HERE and sign-up…I’ll draw a name in a couple of days.

August 29, 2011 Posted by | farm animals, garden, healthy living, home life, in the kitchen, sustainable living | 2 Comments

a new vintage{y} apron…

Yesterday I slipped down to my little sewing area.  I haven’t done any creative sewing for a while and it felt good to just…create!

I took a beautiful, old tablecloth, two embroidered doilies, some pink rick~rack and ended up with a {actually two} cute, little wrap-around apron.

too much fun!

Timi has asked me to join in on the fun on September 9th, 4pm~8pm, for a kick-off for ticket sales for her upcoming Ruffles & Rust Show.  She asked me to bring aprons so I’m going to try to get some fun, vintage{y} aprons made up for it.

btw…I haven’t forgotten that I have a give-away still going on…jump over HERE and leave a comment to be entered

August 23, 2011 Posted by | aprons, sewing, vintage{y} apron | 1 Comment

Goat love :~)

I never, never saw myself as being a milkmaid to goats.

However, I did dream of having a milk cow for a very, very long time.

Once I realized that goat’s milk tasted just like cow’s milk {this, of course, depends on the type of goat and what they are eating}, milk goats seemed to be the acceptable compromise.

I have been loving these little critters and the wonderful milk I’m getting…two times each day!

My milking stanchion was broken for a while so it wouldn’t hold in Bella’s head.  She would eat her grain while I began milking but when the grain was gone she would pull out her head and nuzzle my neck and nibble on my ear.

This is a very fun and silly picture but I’m so ticklish that it would just make me crazy.

Last week while nibbling on my ear, she managed to slip the back off of my diamond stud.  I had to dig that little golden fleck out of her mouth.  After that she seemed even more and more determined to get it off of my ear.

Silly girl!

I get about 2 cups each time I milk.  Most goats would give more but it’s actually a nice amount for us…for now.

I’ve experimented with making some cheeses. 

We make ice cream on a regular basis. 

I eat yogurt every morning from the milk and I’ve made some soap.

Which reminds me….there’s a give-a-way in the works.

Make sure to head over to my last post, leave a comment there and you’ll be entered in to that give-a-way!

source of photos: Tres Birds Photography

August 16, 2011 Posted by | farm animals, goats, healthy living, home life, in the kitchen, sustainable living | 2 Comments

It’s a perfect day to celebrate life!

Isn’t ‘life’ a funny thing?

Is it possible that at any age we have arrived at a place where we have it figured out?

I can’t seem to get myself to write the numbers here, in black and white, that reveal my new age today.  When I think of those numbers I shake my head…I can’t believe it…I’m beyond middle age…When I was young I looked at ladies like me and thought that they were really old!

And yet, I will say that I love where I am in life.

There isn’t a day or a year where I wish to return.

Each year has offered more…has taken me to a better life…this life.

I’m not even sure that there was a time in my life where I felt better than I do today {or if I did, I just didn’t know how much I should appreciate it}.

There are aspects of those early years that I miss…I miss the perky, thinner version of me {that just had to come first}…I miss holding my babies…I miss the places where we lived that gave us friends that we no longer get to see…I miss my grandparents…

I love that everything in my previous 47 years brought me right to where I am today {there! that was a gently way of saying it}!

The current picture of me that you see above was included in a post that Amber wrote yesterday {great post, btw…check it out}.  My first response was that of shock that she would post a picture of me like that….no make-up…hair not done…etc.  This was a work day.  We were getting ready for the workshop the next day.  In fact, she was suppose to be taking shots of the bucket of milk that I was holding.   I believe my instructions were, ‘not my face!”

I love the little lessons that life sends our way in the form of surprises. 

One thing that I have learned in my life is that I want to be real…in every possible way!

Seeing that photo reminded me of that.  That picture is raw, real, natural…all of the things that I want to be each day. 

No cover-up!

I had to put the two photos side-by-side because there is simply no mistaking that they are the same girl.  I love that little girl ~ she knew how to love life… and I also love the person she has become.  {wow! those are hard words to say…it feels bold…but the tears streaming down my face right now makes it feel less so…}

photo by: Tres Birds Photography

I will still always prefer the pictures of myself where my my chin looks like one single chin and my make-up and hair are nicely done…where the lines around my eyes are softened…

And this will be just another wonderful day to celebrate life!

photo by: Tres Birds Photography

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.
-Madeleine L’Engle

I would love to send one of you a gift! 

A bar of my hand-made soap…made from fresh goat milk! …and a CELEBRATE charm…{like the one I’m wearing in the picture above…it is personally, my favorite charm}

Leave a comment, answering this question…What is your favorite part of your life?  What brings a smile to your face on a regular basis?  What makes you celebrate life?

August 13, 2011 Posted by | birthday, life | 29 Comments

Sewing in AK…

Each time I go to Alaska I like to take a project.  Generally it’s a big project.  Last time I took a quilt and I wanted to get the top done…beginning to end.  I got so close but I had to bring it home unfinished and…it still isn’t done.  {sigh} 

This year I just took a couple of little things to work on.

On the trip up, with all of our luggage in tow, we had 6-7 hours of waiting in a ferry terminal in Ketchikan.  The ferry is about 2 miles from downtown so I decided to walk into town…I thought that sitting there for that long just might make me a crazy-girl. 

Ketchikan is a beautiful place with a bit of a small-town feel.   Tourism is high during the summer months as the cruise ships fill up the harbor each day.

Ketchikan has a sweet little fabric shop, The Silver Thimble.

I quickly worked my way past the enormously, not-to-mention impressive collection of wildlife prints and found a beautiful yet small selection of contemporary prints. 

I love to touch and feel fabric and envision what this print would look like with that print.

can anyone relate?

As I was meandering {and taking my time doing so…because I had a lot of it} I saw an adorable grab bag made up as a sample {wish I had taken a pic}.  I noticed that there was a slip of paper attached with the website for a free pattern download for it.  I began to clumsily navigate my fairly new iphone to see if I could find the pattern.  I think the lady working there was feeling sorry for me so she went and got her laptop to see if she could find the pattern.  As she was looking, I put on my best whiny-yet-sweet face, telling her that if she found the pattern would there be any way {I may have added a kind of squinty-smile here} that she could also print it for me?????…I’m pretty sure that I told her I was heading to the ends of the earth for over a week and there would be no internet connection….AT ALL!  …and I would have no way to print the pattern once I left her store. 

Such a sweet lady that girl was!

She not only printed one for me but also one for her and a few more….not realizing that it was a 9-page pattern until after she picked them up from her printer.

Sweet lady, indeed! 

With my FREE pattern in hand {I LOVE free}, I picked out everything else I needed  to make these cute little bags {even with that FREE pattern these were not inexpensive bags…about $20 each}.

It added a little something special to the over-all look when I hand-stitched around some of the detail in the fabrics.

…and, I have to just say that everything is made better with polka-dots!

Here is that oh-so-wonderful {and easy to make} free pattern!  allpeoplequilt.com  and the pdf that takes you right to the pattern.

August 12, 2011 Posted by | sewing | 5 Comments

Fishing in Alaska….

It’s time for me to back up a couple of weeks.

When we returned home from our trip to Alaska I had the {amazingly♥wonderful} workshop/picnic event to ‘pull off’, my garden was in dire need of work and my raspberries we coming on strong.  I wish I would have kept track this year of how many gallons that we’ve picked but it’s somewhere between 20 & 30.

…but, I still want to show you some of the fun that we had in Alaska.

I mentioned in an earlier post that my parent’s have a place there where they spend their summers.  Mr. T goes up each year to fish but with a long list of great reasons {mostly having to do with the kids}, it’s been about 4 years since I’ve made the trip with him.  So, this was the year!

It was a beautiful, relaxing trip and my mom is the best cook ever so we not only came home with 200 lbs. of salmon and halibut but I personally brought home about three pounds.

wouldn’t it be horrible if we had to pay extra for a return flight if we managed to gain weight during our travels?   the financial restrictions are getting tighter and tighter…just might happen some day!  🙂

This the first year that I’ve fished and it turns out that I’m not too bad with a halibut pole.  I reeled in about 9.

Jelly fish – watch out for these buggers…they get tangled up in your line…if you touch the slime with your hands or it gets slung in your eye…OUCH!

pulling up a halibut

a neighbor of my parent’s was fishing in the same ‘hole’

our little boat coming back in for a long day out

not all of these were mine but ‘most’ of them were!  

my parent’s have a great room for doing the final cleaning and packaging of the fish

I was able to can some cod

We had a great time…Thanks Mom and Dad for sharing your AK lives with us!  🙂

August 11, 2011 Posted by | fishing in Alaska, sustainable living | 2 Comments

Raspberry Bliss…

Raspberries!  Raspberries!  Raspberries!

It is such a great year for berries.  I guess they liked the cool wet spring and early weeks of summer and our lower-than-average mid-summer temps have shown favor to the berries as well.

The rest of my garden?   …not so much!

Our spring/summer weather has been very hard on most of the garden but I’m still enjoying it and I think it’s beautiful.

And…it’s not over yet!

The raspberries though are certainly the gift that keep giving and giving.Truly a delight of summer!

They are also a beautiful addition to flower arrangements.

My nephew, Joel {1}, has discovered the rewards of finding the red berries.  We have a new row that his dad planted this spring and it is just the right size.  He toddles his way along ‘his row’ and finds all of the red berries.

I also love pretty jars!  ♥

I’ve come to a sad realization this year.  Making jam is horribly expensive {and involves WAY TOO MUCH sugar!!!}.  It’s a good thing that I don’t have to buy berries or containers.  I grew up with freezer jam and so have my kids but it’s slipping into more of a for-special-occasions thing around here. 

August 6, 2011 Posted by | garden, home life, in the kitchen | Leave a comment

Boho~style – crown making and picnicking…

I’ve been ‘talking up’ the Royal Lady Workshop and Summer Picnic with excitement and expectation for a while now.

And, taking into consideration that I will always be biased, I will say that it exceeded those expectations.

It was a beautiful day that involved amazing ladies, delectable food and glittery sensations.

With the use of that word ‘sensations‘ I’ll also say that it was a day that touched each of our senses in a fun and somewhat unexpected way.

There is always a lot of planning and preparation involved but something that is a favorite element is that the over-all outcome seems to exceed the ideas that are floating around in my head.

I had amazing {marvelous, wonderful and impressive} help.

Amber and Trisha showed up a day ahead of time to help ‘get things done‘…and get it all done, we did!

My daughter, Lauren and daughter-in-law, Jackie were here for some added help and moral support as well.

Heather prepared and served the food from her summer-fresh menu…it was splendid and grand!  Yum!

The crown-making workshop was another hi-light of the day.

The creativity that each lady displays makes me smile.  I often have gals who come even though they don’t really get that crafty bug that so many of us have and I enjoy watching as they create something so fun and even enjoy the process.

The remaining pictures were all taken by Trisha Love.  I love each one that she has taken.  She adds a beautiful touch to everything she does.

The next opportunity for a fantastic get-away, crafty-retreat-in-the-country is October 20-22.

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Art Retreat, Boho Workshop, my neck of the woods! | 4 Comments